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Meitei Leepun starts campaigning to remove illegal immigrant Kukis from ST list

Demands for Removal of Non-Indigenous Tribes from Scheduled Tribes List Gaining Grounds In Some Northeastern States

While controversies surround the demand for inclusion of Meiteis in the Sheduled Tribes (ST) list under Indian Constitution, demands to delist non-indigenous tribes from the ST list are gaining ground in some Northeastern States.

Meitei Leepun on December 22 has initiated a campaign at SRC Ground, Khurai Puthiba Leikai demanding the exclusion of Illegal Immigrants Kukis from Scheduled Tribe List in Manipur.

Speaking in the launching of the campaign and advocating for indigenous people’s rights in Manipur, Meitei Leepun chief Mayengbam Pramot said that Illegal immigrants cannot be granted Scheduled Tribe status and the non-indigenous cannot be given reservation.

Pramot said that Zoramthanga of Mizoram claims the Kukis of Manipur to be their brother and sisters but do not have any rights there in Mizoram, as only the indigenous people of Mizoram are given reservations.

Pramot further said, “Organisations, politicians, CSOs, Meira Paibis and the intellectuals should stand firm so that the Kukis, who are non-indigenous are removed from the ST list. Also, DGPs, Secretary, Commissioner and other high ranking government officials, should be checked if they enter Manipur before or after 1961 and if not found to be indigenous should be arrested. The territorial boundary of Manipur is guarded by the blood of our forefathers and every Meiteis of the land has their love for their motherland even if it is the fear of losing an inch of land far away in Dzuko valley or Shirui or Border Pillar. If we were born during Seven years Devastation, we would be fighting with the Avas, and our forefathers who were born during that time fought to safeguard the territorial boundary of Manipur, for the future generations.”

The Chief of Meitei Leepun further appealed to all to save and make the Meiteis strong, so as to save Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on December 20 adopted a resolution to urge the Centre through the State government to take steps to bring an amendment to the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950, so as to recognise only the indigenous communities as the STs in Meghalaya.

According to reports, moving the official resolution on the first day of the council’s winter session, KHADC Chief Executive Member, Pyniaid Sing Syiem said Part XI of the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended has provided a list of the STs belonging to Meghalaya.

“We are considering the increase in the demographic status of the indigenous tribes of Meghalaya over the last few years. It has become expedient to re-examine the list provided in Part XI of the Constitution Order, 1950, in so far as Meghalaya is concerned,” he said.
Seeking the support of the house, he assured the members that the EC would immediately write to the state government to take up the matter with the Centre to ensure only the indigenous communities of the state are included in the ST list.

Participating in the discussion on the resolution, Opposition leader Titosstarwell Chyne said the Executive Committee (EC) appears to have woken up after he submitted a private member’s resolution on the same matter. “It looks like the EC prepared this official resolution yesterday (December 19) night. I would like to express my gratitude to the EC for responding to the resolution,” he said.

Chyne said he could not reject the official resolution since it was in line with the one he had moved. He said he is concerned since the tribals from other parts of the region settling in Meghalaya are being recognized and are enjoying their rights as STs.

According to him, the local indigenous tribes do not get similar recognition in other Northeastern states. Citing an example, he said tribes from outside can buy land in areas such as Madanrting and Happy Valley, reports said.

“Would the indigenous tribes from Meghalaya be able to buy land in Mizoram?” he asked.
He felt the issue of exploitation by tribal people from other states has been buried under discussions on the issue of influx. “Will we in Meghalaya see a situation similar to what has happened between the Kuki and Meitei people in Manipur?” he asked.

Participating in the discussion, Nongthymmai’s independent MDC, Latiplang Kharkongor pointed out that the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Nongthymmai Pyllun in 2019 had asked the state government to urge the Centre to amend the Constitution (Schedule Tribe) Order of 1950.

He said the Supreme Court had clearly stated that a person belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe in one state cannot be deemed to be SC/ST in another state where he migrated for employment or education.

Stating that Meghalaya will only need to come up with a notification, Kharkongor said Sikkim, Mizoram, and Nagaland have already issued notifications to ensure only their indigenous tribes enjoy the rights and privileges.

Deputy CEM, PN Syiem said the biggest mistake committed when Meghalaya got its statehood was the adoption of the Rules and Acts from Assam.

Stating that they would urge the state government to pursue with the Centre to amend the Presidential order of 1950, he underscored the need to revisit the Land Transfer Act to ensure not all tribes on the ST list can buy land in Meghalaya.

However, in Tripura the demand to remove from the Scheduled Tribe list is on the basis of conversion to other religions from their indigenous.

The Janjati Suraksha Manch (JSM), a tribal rights body backed by the RSS, is demanding that the Indian government remove Scheduled Tribe (ST) status from those who have converted to other religions. The JSM also ask the authorities to withdraw the benefits and status conferred upon them.

Notably, the JSM plans to hold a rally on this year’s Christmas day to press for the exclusion of converted tribal people from the ST list. The coordinator of JSM, Shanti Bikash Chakma, argues that converted tribes should not be entitled to the facilities and benefits provided to them based on their tribal traditions and culture.

The JSM also on November 20 announced to organise a massive rally on Christmas day demanding the exclusion of the tribal people who have been converted to other religions from the list of ST and the scrapping of benefits offered to them for their socio-economic upliftment.

At the time of enlistment in the ST list, a tribal has to mention his religious affiliation but later in some cases, it found that they have changed it, which is a violation of the law. Without naming any religion or faith, Chakma said tribal communities of Tripura have certain traditions and cultures, which they declared at the time of getting the ST certificates based on which they were given various facilities. Unfortunately, the converted tribes are not following their confessed tradition and culture. Hence, they don’t deserve the right to enjoy these facilities, he attributed.

The JSM has decided to hold the rally called ‘De-listing Rally’ on December 25 and claimed that a large number of people from different parts of the state will participate in it. They will gather in three different places in Agartala, then will march to Vivekananda Stadium and hold a mass meeting from where they will press for their demand of de-listing the converted tribal people from the ST status.

However, protesting against the group’s rally, the CPM, Congress, People’s Congress and TIPRA Motha alleged a “conspiracy” and efforts to foment communal tension behind it.

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